His name was Jean de la Fontaine. His father was the ranger of the forest of the duchy of Chateau-Thierry in Champagne. Jean was born there July 8, and educated at first for the Church. He truned, however, to the law but abandoned this on succeeding to his father’s rangership in 1647. He married the same year but soon separated from his wife and he must have decided that forest ranging was not for him for it is known that from 1660 he lived in Paris. He began to write verses and translated some of the minor classics.
In 1668 his first six books of animal fables were published. In wonderfully easy verse, they rate high among the glories of French literature. In them Fontaine demonstrated a deep knowledge of nature, gained probably from the days when he roamed the forest of Chateau-Thierry as a ranger. A second series of fables appeared in 1679 and a third in 1693. They are today still read extensively throughout the world. Jean de la Fontaine died in Paris April 13, 1695.